Military surge sans mediation-oriented talks is like surgery without anaesthesia. Historically, military surge has seldom yielded desired objectives; rather it has been a sure recipe for human tragedies like massacre, exodus, collapse of infrastructure, destruction of habitat, etc. Therefore, surge alone is not the solution, it is likely to create more problems than it may solve. Nevertheless, it is landing in the neighbourhood at god's speed to raise hell and leave at devils speed. Most of our extremism related problems are a fallout of the faulty American policy in Afghanistan. Hence, we have high stakes as to how the Surge II would unfold from operational employment perspective, and what could be its impact on Pakistan. Thanks to the sham electoral process and the carrying forward of the previous faade of political dispensation of Afghanistan, the sitting (read re-imposed) government of President Karzai lacks public appeal and support. It neither has the capacity to resist the onset of surge, nor the capability to absorb its consequences. It will hardly have any control over its operational machinations. More so, the Afghan government has no option but to sing in support of surge; however, those who call the shots outside the presidential palace are waiting anxiously to engage the newcomers with traditional Afghan ferocity, which has always been the hallmark of Afghan asymmetric fighters. The rural areas of Afghanistan are controlled by those who share the perception that all their woes are due to occupation of their country by foreign (read American) forces. These fighters see this struggle as a war for independence. Now it is the entire Afghan nation up in a revolt, barring the direct beneficiaries of occupation. In addition, the American war methodology is well known for excessive application of military power, specifically causing widespread devastation by using air power. Minus the application of air power, Afghan freedom fighters have the capability to outmanoeuvre the Americans. And with the application of air power they would turn towards the porous border that would fascinate them for escape manoeuvre into Pakistan, thanks to the persistent American refusals to seal off the Pak-Afghan border. So, any way, it's a catch-me-if-you-can situation. The southern provinces of Afghanistan, adjoining Pakistan are expected to be the focus of surge operations. Heightened application of military power, especially the air component would cast its adverse impact on Pakistan. We will have to focus on handling the influx of refugees including a significant number of hardened extremist fighters and terrorists. Hence, one could postulate an era of high pitch law and order problems in Pakistan. Starting with an optimistic approach, let's assume that sanity prevails and the Americans decide to contain the conflict within Afghanistan by blocking the major entry/exit routes on the Pak-Afghan border. Then the resistance forces (mainly of Pashtun ethnicity) may get a good thrashing. This would create unrest amongst the Pashtun belt of Pakistan, where the population at large would be inclined to cross over into Afghanistan in support of their kith and kin. Crossing over alongside light weapons would be easy through informal and scantily used crossing points. In this scenario the Americans will have to encounter a formidable force. They will always have more number of fighters crossing over from Pakistan than they can eliminate through battles. Furthermore, thanks to indiscreet use of drone attacks, the tribesmen on the Pakistani side have no love lost for Americans. To dissuade them from crossing over, it is essential that the Pashtun population on the Pakistani side is wooed through the ceasing of drone attacks and commencing economic development activity. To make this activity viable, the Americans should encourage the Pakistani government to enter into a mediation focused dialogue with its tribal population, for achieving requisite stability. Another operational approach could be mere reinforcement of the previous surge effort. That is without restricting cross border movement; indiscriminate use of air power would precede action by the foot soldiers (read marines). As resistance forces do not have the capability to counter drone and aircraft attacks, they may take protective refuge in mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. If American desperation leads to the use of the daisycutter class weapons, the extremists would flee to Pakistan and merge with local the population. In both the cases, marines would have no one to fight against. Hence, the combat prowess of resistance forces would stay intact. Like pervious occasions, the problem would be exported to Pakistan. Now, if hot pursuit is executed, the extremists may cross over back into Afghanistan and fight it out. If the Pakistani government is pressurised to take them on, extremists may fan out into Pakistani territory and carry out disruptive activities. Real danger for Pakistan lies at a stage when the surge operation is about midway. Tactical and operational level failures would begin to cause frustration, and urgency to succeed would snowball it further. In this backdrop, the scapegoat could be the Quetta Shura via concocted intelligence leaks. If on this pretext any action is initiated by the Americans in Balochistan, the fallout would be serious for Pakistan and fatal for the US. Severe public pressure would mount on the Pakistani government to provide protection against American attacks. Out of frustration, violent tribal gangs from Balochistan could move unilaterally to sever the flow of American logistics into Afghanistan. With Torkham supply route already in jeopardy, the logistic strangulation would begin. Fragile alternative route through CARs will not be able to bear the load, and the surge would begin to lose the steam. Such a logistic fiasco would eventuality force the Americans to leave at supersonic speed, forgetting about fancy ideals like civil sector development and institutional capacity enhancement of Afghanistan. In the same context, drone attacks have aroused an unprecedented uproar. As of now, the use of drones carries a tremendous negative political baggage. Documented figures indicate a ratio of 1:10 in terms collateral damage to civilian life, which is indeed phenomenal touching the boundaries of war crimes. It would be appropriate to pull the infamous drones out of the theatre. COIN operations should mainly be conducted by the land forces with discreet use of air power. Collateral damage to native civilian life must remains as close to President Obama's heart as is the body bag count of the occupation forces. Pakistan has an important role to play in the outcome of surge operations while protecting its own interests. Hence, there is a need to work out our priorities boldly. Our main concern should be to ensure tranquillity within our country and leave the management of extremists in Afghanistan to the occupation forces. We need to start intra-Pakistan talks with our people and give them a fair but irrevocable chance of denouncing militancy. These talks would indeed be a complicated process of processes, something like wheels within wheels. Nevertheless, following a slow and steady, yet incremental approach, tiny successes could be integrated into macro-level understandings based on native traditions, while caring for cultural sensitivities of the people of our tribal region. At an appropriate time, the outcome of intra-Pakistan talks may be merged with the outcome of intra-Afghan talks to ensure enduring peace in these calm starved countries. Well meaning people need to get together, formulate a framework for intra-Pakistan talks and float it for national consensus. Time is the essence The writer is a former assistant of the chief of the air staff, PAF. Email: